Trashing the Dress: The anti-bridal wedding photography of John Michael Cooper
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Trashing the Dress: The anti-bridal wedding photography of John Michael Cooper

My Joan of Arc 2006 by John Michael Cooper

John Michael Cooper is not your standard wedding photographer. Credited with starting the 'trash the dress' trend (in which just-married brides destroy their dresses for a dramatic photo), his portfolio of high-fashion bridal photography contains the standard bread-and-butter wedding portraiture alongside more experimental images. He got his start in the fast-paced environment of destination-based companies in Las Vegas, including the chapel at the Treasure Island hotel. After starting his own company with wife Dalisa in the early 2000s, Cooper decided to start shooting experimentally in the conservative world of wedding portraiture, which not only quickly gained him a cadre of clients looking for something different, but also shattered established business models in the staid world of bridal photography.

The name of his photography company is Alt F Photographers. Pressing alt-f on a keyboard will provide you the iconic ƒ typography as in ƒ-stop, but for Cooper, it's meant more as a reminder that he always needs to push himself and his photography to excel beyond the ordinary.

'It sort of sets the tone for me as to what I am trying to do and accomplish,' he says. 'A lot of people think I don't do a lot of the regular wedding shots, but I struggle with the same stuff that everyone else in this business does. You have to give clients what they expect, especially for their families, but you still build that other time in to play and do something creative for yourself. Some people think I just get to run amok and do whatever I want, but I don't, I still have to take care of my clientele.'

Find out more about him by clicking through the slideshow and accompanying Q+A. For more imagery, visit his website, Follow him on his blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.